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Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate cancer?

The prostate gland is found only in males and is a part of male reproductive system. It lies below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.

Prostate gland produces a thick, clear fluid that makes the semen more fluid and protects and nourishes sperm cells in the semen. It also plays a part in controlling the flow of urine.

Prostate cancer forms in the cells of the prostate. Though several types of cells are found in prostate, almost all prostate cancers develop from glandular cells (adenocarcinomas). Other types of prostate cancers are very rare.

Symptoms

Prostate cancer is usually a very slow growing cancer and most patients do not have significant symptoms until the cancer reaches an advanced stage.

Most men with prostate cancer die of other unrelated causes, and many never know that they have the disease. But once prostate cancer begins to grow quickly or spreads outside the prostate, it is dangerous.

Advanced stage prostate cancer may cause signs and symptoms such as

  • Difficulty in urination
  • Urgency to pass urine
  • Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Not having a feeling of emptied bladder
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Blood in the semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Bone pains
  • Blood in the urine (rarely)
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control due to cancer growth pressing the spinal cord.
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet

The urinary symptoms are caused by the enlargement of the prostate which presses upon urethra, thereby affecting the flow of urine. These symptoms can be caused by cancerous as well as non-cancerous prostatic conditions.

However, if you feel any of such symptoms consult your doctor. The earlier a cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat it and the chances for successful treatment will be more.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age: Risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is very rare in men below 40 and the risk increases rapidly after the age 50.
  • Ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. However, the reasons for these racial and ethnic differences in prostate cancer are not clear.
  • Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in families which suggest a genetic or inherited factor involved in its causation. A family history of prostate cancer increases your risk of getting it.
  • Number of affected relatives also increases the relative risk for prostate cancer, notably if the cancer is found in younger relatives.
  • Genetic alterations: Inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes which are linked with familial breast and ovarian cancers may also increase prostate cancer risk in some men.
  • Diet: Consumption of excess calcium through food (especially dairy foods) or supplements has been linked with higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Obesity: Most studies have not found any causal link. However, prostate cancer in obese men is more likely to present in more advanced stages and is more difficult to treat.
  • Inflammation of the prostate: Some studies have reported that men with prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) have an increased risk for prostate cancer but other studies refute this association.

How can it be prevented?

Since the cause of prostate cancer is not known in most cases, we don’t know how to prevent it. But we can adopt certain practices to decrease the chances of getting prostate and many other types of cancer [21-23].

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Indulge in regular physical activity.
  • Limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
  • Limit the intake of processed meat and red meat.
  • Limit the alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day.
  • Reduce intake of dairy foods and diets rich in calcium.

Source : India against Cancer portal



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